Trailer Park Boys' 'Ricky' Tells CRTC he prefers all-Canadian Content
Well, the cable companies were warned it would happen, and now it has. Actors, production companies and broadcasters from across Canada are calling on the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to argue that widespread deregulation of the country's cable and sattelite industry will wreak havoc on Canadian content and consumers.
The affable actor Rob Wells, known for his pot-smoking, 40-drinking, trailer-park living 'Ricky' in The Trailer Park Boys addressed the CRTC in Gatineau, Quebec today to argue that Canadians protect their own content.
Before the CRTC is a bill that would eliminate 'genre-protection' rules that keep specialty channels from directly competing with each other, while protecting against huge American companies like HBO.
Actor Robb Wells may be best known as "Ricky" the pot-smoking, dimwitted, track pants-wearing ex-con he plays on the hit series Trailer Park Boys, but don't believe everything you see on TV.
In real life, Wells is a passionate advocate of Canadian content. And he is appearing before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in Gatineau, Que., today to argue that widespread deregulation of this country's cable and satellite industry will deliver a devastating blow to Canadian culture.
"It is basically our ability to tell our own stories," Wells said in an interview yesterday at a downtown Ottawa hotel. "To see something on TV that you recognize, or if there is something you are familiar with, it makes you feel proud. lf you take that away, we are going to lose our culture."
His key concern is a proposal by major cable and satellite players to eliminate so-called "genre protection" rules that keep domestic specialty channels from directly competing with each other, while shielding them from big-name American networks like HBO.
But he doesn't have much sympathy for conventional broadcasters either – especially those that try to outbid each other for the rights to showcase hit prime-time U.S. shows.
"If you look at prime-time now on some of the major networks in Canada, you barely see Canadian content at all," Wells said. "There is no Canadian drama hardly at all anywhere. If they relax the rules on these specialty channels, they'll just get to the point where there is just no Canadian content and no drama. It is a travesty."
Evangelical lobbyist Charles McVety is issuing a new warning to the Conservative government, saying that it will "pay a price" in the way of a grassroots rebellion if it gives in to pressure from the film and television industry and amends or waters down its provision to deny government tax credits for offensive screen productions.
In an interview with The Hill Times, Rev. McVety issued the new warning as the Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce studies the legislation, Bill C-10, and hears from the film and television industry about the so-called "censorship" provision.
Two of Canada's largest television broadcasters set aside their fierce rivalry yesterday and presented a united front, imploring the federal regulator to put consumers first by resisting demands from cable and satellite companies to relax the regulations governing the television industry.
The top executives of CanWest Global Communications Corp. and CTVglobemedia Inc. sat shoulder to shoulder as they made an "unprecedented" joint submission at the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, warning the very survival of Canadian TV is at stake.
Encircled by a small army of regulatory experts, CanWest president and chief executive Leonard Asper and his CTVglobemedia counterpart, Ivan Fecan, told commissioners that consumer choice would suffer if current rules are dismantled.